The prediction that a mystery illness will soon take hold of the United States has yet to play out, but the Lone Gunmen aren’t taking any chances as they race to follow-up their next lead, which just happens to be far bigger than they could have previously imagined, far, far bigger, and with a sense of humour…

X-Files Conspiracy Part 4 img 1The biggest pill to swallow

It doesn’t take long for the Lone Gunmen to catch up with the Autobots, or Cybertronians as they call themselves this issue. I think this is perhaps the hardest crossover to take seriously within The X-Files universe purely because Optimus Prime and co. are all, technically, aliens that have somehow never been uncovered by Mulder, even by a small degree. (Obviously I get that it wouldn’t have happened in the TV series, but the point is Mulder is really, really good at finding out about super secret stuff.)

And even though the Lone Gunmen have never encountered anything like Transformers before, they spend hardly any time freaking out. I’m not saying that they needed to go to Shia LaBeouf levels of “OMG!” but Paul Crilley is too quick at making the guys rather accepting of talking, alien, giant robots that are truly unlike anything previously encountered in the TV show. The Transformers are hugely different from the AI found in season one episode “Ghost in the Machine“, for instance.

How much chin?

X-Files Conspiracy Part 4 img 2The art of Dheeraj Verma coupled with the colouring of Jona Lafuente, casts the characters in this issue not in an unpleasant light, but brings out a grimness of detail that I have’t seen in previous issues. The Transformers aren’t too bright, but not overly gritty either. Instead it gives the issue’s proceedings and the actions of the characters a level of seriousness that wasn’t quite there in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles issue.

There’s the shadowed artwork and the story working together to show that while Langly can make friends with Bumblbee and call him his “ninja buddie”, what they’re doing isn’t a walk in the park. There’s a sense of urgency in this issue that wasn’t quite there previously. The jokes are there, but it feels like there’s always the subtext of, “We need to end this before we all die.”

And while there was a chance that the entire issue could have turned into an action spectacular, things don’t get too shooty until the last possible minute, when it’s most deserved. The pacing, overall, in this issue was pretty on the mark.

Worth reading?

EmgoodIf you’ve stuck with this far, then yes. However this isn’t a good point to enter in on. I really enjoyed this issue, despite not being able to quite see how the Transformers could quite exist as part of this universe. Crilley keeps the action balanced, the jokes appropriate and the seriousness of the story in a nice and engaging tableau. I’m definitely looking forward to reading the next issue.

The X-Files: Conspiracy #4 “Transformers” is out now. Our reviewer bought their own issue of the comic.